The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films (150-51)

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Le Havre

Le Havre


2011 / Finland-France-Germany / 93m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romantic Drama
Andre Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo, Evelyne Didi, Quoc Dung Nguyen, Laika, Francois Monnie, Little Bob
"In this warmhearted comic yarn from Aki Kaurismäki, fate throws the young African refugee Idrissa (Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (Wilms), a kindly old bohemian who shines shoes for a living in the French harbor city Le Havre. With inborn optimism and the support of his tight-knit community, Marcel stands up to the officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic French cinema of the past, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight and one of the Finnish director’s finest films." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by David Robinson, Lisandro Alonso, Mariann Lewinsky, Eulàlia Iglesias Huix, Andrea Segre.
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Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (original title)

2003 / South Korea-Germany / 102m / Col / Drama, Religious Drama
Oh Young-Su, Kim Ki-duk, Kim Young-Min, Seo Jae-Kyung, Ha Yeo-Jin, Kim Jong-Ho, Kim Jung-Young, Ji Dae-Han, Choi Min, Park Ji-A
"Spring, Summer… is decadently gorgeous, and its cyclical construction is fearsomely neat. But Kim's tone has an ancient simplicity, something like the fundamental eloquence of a silent film or an enduring children's book. And his images have a surrealist integrity: the swimming frog dragging a stone, the monk painting sutras with a mewling cat's tail, the prodigal monk chopping through a frozen waterfall, the Magritte-like woman masked by a scarf arriving to abandon a baby, that same infant crawling across the ice searching for his mother. Far from a maxim-expounding sermon, the film is a fresh spring of irrational visual pleasure." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Gulnara Abikeyeva, Uygar Şirin, Anton Bitel, Tiina Lokk, Angelina Nikonova.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox


2009 / USA / 87m / Col / Family-Oriented Comedy, Animation
George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wallace Wolodarsky, Eric Chase Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker
"Fantastic Mr. Fox is a proudly analog animated entertainment, making its handmade way into a marketplace glutted with digital goodies. Next to the three-dimensional, computer-generated creatures that swoop and soar off the screen these days, the furry talking animals on display here, with their matted pelts, jerky movements and porcelain eyes, might look a little quaint, like old-fashioned wind-up toys uneasily sharing the shelf with the latest video game platforms… Fantastic Mr. Fox, which Mr. Anderson wrote with Noah Baumbach, and which he has been hoping to make for many years, is in some ways his most fully realized and satisfying film." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Aryan Kaganof, Shigehiko Hasumi, Todd McCarthy, Nag Vladermersky, Kevin B. Lee.
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The Queen

The Queen


2006 / UK-France-Italy-USA / 103m / Col / Family Drama, Political Drama
Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Tim McMullan, Robin Soans, Lela Peploe
"The Queen is an absolute delight, combining the cheap thrills of a biopic with the gentler, but more lasting, pleasures of a brilliant character study. It's also a very shrewd examination of power and a surprisingly warm exploration of a relationship. Set in 1997, it details the bond of trust that slowly develops between the 71-year-old Elizabeth and Tony Blair who, at 44, was the youngest prime minister in British history… Though it comes disguised as a wicked pleasure, The Queen is a sweet dream of England. And the ultimate buddy movie, besides." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Michael Brooke, Bertrand Tavernier, Geoff Andrew, Leonard Maltin, Glenn Kenny.
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Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo Jima


2006 / USA / 140m / Col / War Drama, Combat Film
Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando, Yuki Matsuzaki, Takashi Yamaguchi, Eijiro Ozaki
"Eloquent, bloody, and daringly simple, the movie examines notions of wartime glory as closely as Flags of Our Fathers dissected heroism… Written by Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis and based on the real General Kuribayashi's posthumously published correspondence, Letters represents filmmaking so assured it can take your breath away. Eastwood has pruned all affectation from his directing style, leaving a movie that feels straight and true. Tom Stern's cinematography is leached of colors except for the red sun on the flag and the orange blooms of bombardments: action and consequence." - Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
Selected by Sheila Schvarzman, Rogelio Llanos, Mohammed Rouda, Joseph McBride, Stig Bjorkman.
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United 93

United 93


2006 / USA-UK-France / 110m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Christian Clemenson, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin, Gary Commock, Nancy McDoniel, David Alan Basche, Richard Bekins, Susan Blommaert
"This, as everyone will know by now, is a controversial, scrupulously researched reconstruction of what happened on the morning of 11 September 2001, when four Arab terrorists took over United Airlines Flight 93… The movie is gripping from first to last, partly because, like a Greek tragedy, we are only too aware of where everything is heading and partly because we are simultaneously taken back to that day that shook the world and experience the events through the eyes of the innocent passengers and the puzzled observers on the ground." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Neil Young, Cyrus Frisch, Gavin Smith, John Waters, Michael Atkinson.
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Hugo

Hugo


2011 / USA / 126m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Period Film
Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour
"Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about — movies. That he also makes it a fable that will be fascinating for (some, not all) children is a measure of what feeling went into it… Hugo celebrates the birth of the cinema and dramatizes Scorsese's personal pet cause, the preservation of old films." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jan Troell, Shu Kei, Christopher Fowler, I. Shanmughadas, Ty Burr.
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Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty


2012 / USA / 157m / Col / War, Action Thriller
Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, Jason Clarke, Fares Fares, Frank Grillo
"After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the CIA make al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a prime target… It’s a relatively new kind of American patriotic war movie, counter-programming jaded paranoid fantasies like the Bourne movies or the liberal horror stories thrown up by the War On Terror. It’s measured, seething with suppressed emotion, unafraid of slow stretches and false trails, snapping shut like a mantrap when blood is shed… Gripping throughout, with an impressive central performance, this is like a Dogme 95 redo of a Chuck Norris film — by heroic effort, the good guys find and kill a bad guy. How you feel about that is something Bigelow leaves you to decide." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Nick James, Paul Whitington, Ty Burr, Andrew O'Hehir, Manohla Dargis.
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I'm Not There

I'm Not There


2007 / USA-Germany-Canada / 135m / Col-BW / Musical Drama, Biography
Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Whishaw, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Julianne Moore
"Just about every inspired film emerges out of some kind of obsession. The singular haunting beauty of I'm Not There, Todd Haynes' thrilling deep-vision meditation on the music and many lives of Bob Dylan, is that obsession isn't just its fuel — it's the movie's spirit and subject, its driving force… Haynes splits Dylan into six different actors, leaping around key periods in his life from the late '50s through the early '80s, and he treats the songs as a heavenly chorus… I'm Not There is a fantasia, a tell-all, a biopic that's all high points, a folk-rock essay, and a dream, all wrapped into one. It plays like the headiest musical ever made." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Selected by Florian Schneider, Annett Busch, Katha Schulte, Alexander Horwath, David Ehrenstein.
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Hero

Hero

Ying xiong (original title)

2002 / Hong Kong-China / 99m / Col / Historical Film, Martial Arts
Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Daoming Chen, Donnie Yen, Liu Zhong Yuan, Zheng Tia Yong, Yan Qin, Chang Xiao Yang
"Hero comes from Zhang Yimou, who led China's so-called Fifth Generation filmmaking movement with offerings such as Ju Dou and The Story of Qiu Ju, then went into a slump. I hereby declare his slump officially over. Hero is a walloping entertainment, brimming with the magic-realist action that made Ang Lee's somewhat similar Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a hit… Hero gains its excitement less from the story it tells than from Mr. Zhang's brilliance in telling it. The screen pulses with choreographed movement, vibrantly framed images, and cascades of color that match plot events." - David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Stefan Droessler, Slavoj Zizek, Slobodan Valentinčič, Ching Siu-Tung, Michael Wood.
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Certified Copy

Certified Copy

Copie conforme (original title)

2010 / France-Italy-Belgium-Iran / 106m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Jean-Claude Carriere, Agathe Natanson, Gianna Giachetti, Adrian Moore, Angelo Barbagallo, Andrea Laurenzi, Filippo Troiano, Manuela Balsimelli
"The great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami travels to Tuscany for a luminous and provocative romance in which nothing is as it appears. What seems at first to be a straightforward tale of two people—played by Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell—getting to know each other over the course of an afternoon gradually reveals itself as something richer, stranger, and trickier: a mind-bending reflection on authenticity, in art as well as in relationships. Both cerebrally and emotionally engaging, Certified Copy reminds us that love itself is an enigma." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Stojan Pelko, Keith Uhlich, Adrian Martin, Ed Gonzalez, Peter Howell.
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Toni Erdmann

Toni Erdmann


2016 / Germany-Austria-Switzerland-Romania / 162m / Col / Comedy Drama, Slice of Life
Sandra Huller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, Ingrid Bisu, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Victoria Cocias, Alexandru Papadopol
"Not only does German humour exist, it might just save your life. That’s one of many horizon-altering takeaways from the exquisite Toni Erdmann, the new film from the Berlin-based director Maren Ade. Calling it a bittersweet comedy wouldn’t remotely do justice to the Zen-like equipoise in which Ade and her sensational cast hold its sweetness and bitterness. I cried laughing, laughed crying, and plunged through every other emotional paradox that glugs beneath the surface of family life. Ade’s film – her first, since the superb 2009 couple-on-holiday drama Everyone Else – is a story for right now, radically insightful and ferociously smart, about modern life fraying down a father-daughter bond to its last remaining thread." - Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
Selected by Alexander Horwath, Kent Jones, Verena Lueken, Amy Taubin, Dana Stevens.
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Black Swan

Black Swan


2010 / USA / 108m / Col / Showbiz Drama, Psychological Thriller
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Anapau, Janet Montgomery, Sebastian Stan
"This eye-popping, inspired and often-demented (in a good way) cross between The Red Shoes and All About Eve channels horror maestros David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento. It’s also something of a companion piece to Aronofsky’s The Wrestler (the unsettling ending is very similar) but far surpasses the earlier film... Director Aronofsky triumphs in a high-wire act. He skirts ludicrousness by balancing some truly creepy, bloody stuff with some stunningly beautiful ballet sequences enhanced by digital effects. Aronofsky is abetted by Matthew Libatique's cinematography and the choreography by Benjamin Millepied." - Lou Lumenick, New York Post
Selected by Xiaoning Lu, Anna Smith, Li Yu, Paul Whitington, Roger Ebert.
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Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue is the Warmest Colour

La Vie d'Adèle (original title)

2013 / France-Belgium-Spain / 179m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Lea Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurelien Recoing, Catherine Salee, Benjamin Siksou, Mona Walravens, Alma Jodorowsky, Jeremie Laheurte, Anne Loiret
"The colorful, electrifying romance that took the Cannes Film Festival by storm courageously dives into a young woman’s experiences of first love and sexual awakening. Blue Is the Warmest Color stars the remarkable newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos as a high schooler who, much to her own surprise, plunges into a thrilling relationship with a female twentysomething art student, played by Léa Seydoux. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, this finely detailed, intimate epic sensitively renders the erotic abandon of youth. It has captivated international audiences and been widely embraced as a defining love story for the new century." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Anne Billson, Briony Hanson, Charles Gant, Corrina Antrobus, Lizelle Bisschoff.
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A Serious Man

A Serious Man


2009 / USA-UK-France / 105m / Col / Period Film, Black Comedy
Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, Peter Breitmayer, Brent Braunschweig, David Kang, Benjy Portnoe
"Deftly balancing bright comedy and bitter darkness, the Coens have come up with another uncomfortable masterpiece about a fraternal duo… The film conjures a woozy, weightless feeling, combined with an almost hallucinatory clarity and heightened sense of itself. It's a little like the feeling that migraine sufferers describe just before an attack. Yet what follows is no headache, but a superb and intelligent comedy… Euphoric, sad and thoughtful all at once, this strange and wonderful film is rounded off with a gloriously well-crafted apocalyptic vision and a chilling intimation of divine retribution for earthly wrongdoing. The Coens have finished the noughties as America's pre-eminent film-makers." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Pulver, Ali Arikan, Jeff Goldblum, Kent Jones, Kim Morgan.
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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Le Scaphandre et le papillon (original title)

2007 / France-USA / 112m / Col / Drama, Medical Drama
Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze, Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais, Niels Arestrup, Olatz Lopez Garmendia, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Marina Hands, Max von Sydow
"In the year between the stroke that left him paralyzed and the death from pneumonia that came two days after his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, was published, Jean-Dominique Bauby told his ex-wife (via the fluttering lash of one eye) that he wanted to see his story on the screen. I think—I know—he’d be over the moon about Julian Schnabel’s movie... Whatever Schnabel’s posturings as a painter, he’s a major film director, alive not only to light and texture but to characters’ emotions—which twist the light and warp the textures and permeate the canvas." - David Edelstein, New York Magazine
Selected by Anna Smith, Patricia Rozema, Malu De Martino, Pierre Lam, Lloyd Michaels.
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White Material

White Material


2009 / France-Cameroon / 100m / Col / Drama, Political Drama
Isabelle Huppert, Christopher Lambert, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Isaach De Bankole, William Nadylam, Adele Ado, Ali Barkai, Daniel Tchangang, Michel Subor, David Gozlan
"In White Material, the great contemporary French filmmaker Claire Denis, known for her restless, intimate dramas, introduces an unforgettably crazed character. Played by a ferocious Isabelle Huppert, Maria is an entitled white woman living in Africa, desperately unwilling to give up her family’s crumbling coffee plantation despite the civil war closing in on her. Created with Denis’ signature full-throttle visual style, which places the viewer at the center of the maelstrom, White Material is a gripping evocation of the death throes of European colonialism and a fascinating look at a woman lost in her own mind" - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Guy Lodge, Charles Whitehouse, Sara Driver, Clio Barnard, Carmen Gray.
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You Can Count on Me

You Can Count on Me


2000 / USA / 110m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jon Tenney, Rory Culkin, J. Smith Cameron, Josh Lucas, Gaby Hoffmann, Adam Lefevre, Kenneth Lonergan
"This small realistic gem, set in an upstate New York town, looks deeply and empathetically into the loving but strained relationship between Sammy (Linney), a single mother with an 8-year-old son, and Terry (Ruffalo), her wastrel brother, who returns home after serving a jail sentence. The two share a special bond, having lost their parents in a car crash when they were children. Matthew Broderick is Sammy's stuffy new boss at the bank where she works as a loan officer. The tensions that erupt may not be the most melodramatic domestic problems ever filmed, but they're the stuff of life, and Linney's and Ruffalo's performances are achingly perfect." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Joe Swanberg, Doris Kuhn, Mark Duplass, A.O. Scott, Kenneth Turan.
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Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis


2013 / USA-UK-France / 105m / Col / Musical Drama, Period Film
Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Max Casella, Jerry Grayson, Jeanine Serralles, Adam Driver, Stark Sands
"Inside Llewyn Davis gets everything softly, quietly right. T-Bone Burnett supervised the music, and it never sounds as if it's been lifted out of some dusty vault — it's alive. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel gives us a half-tarnished, half-burnished vision of early 1960s New York, just dreamy enough, rather than laden with false nostalgia... Intentionally or otherwise, the Coens might be channeling the Hal Ashby of The Landlord, or Next Stop, Greenwich Village–era Paul Mazursky. Whatever they're doing, it's remarkable — cockeyed humanism at its best." - Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
Selected by Glenn Kenny, Miriam Bale, Peter Howell, Tim Grierson, Peter Bradshaw.
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Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead


2004 / UK-USA-France / 99m / Col / Comedy, Horror
Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Jessica Stevenson, Peter Serafinowicz, Rafe Spall
"This cheerful horror comedy, starring and co-written by Simon Pegg of Channel 4's Spaced, is as smart as paint. It's pacily directed, nicely acted and boasts a script crammed with real gags… The spoof genre is usually so tricky but this brings it off: it's spirited, good-natured, likable and funny, with great support from Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy as Shaun's mum and stepdad. If it sometimes looks like a feature-length episode of Spaced, well that's a good thing." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by George A. Romero, Norm Wilner, Dane Benko, Christopher Campbell, Drew Goddard.
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12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave


2013 / USA-UK / 134m / Col / Period Film, Rural Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Lupita Nyong'o, Alfre Woodard, Michael K. Williams
"The best movie ever made about slavery is also the best movie of the year. No prettified classroom study for director Steve McQueen, a visual artist and visceral provocateur of the first rank. He rubs our noses in the horrific true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man living in New York in 1841 until he becomes enslaved in the Deep South. Ejiofor, his eyes pools of torment, is an acting giant. This is one for the time capsule." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Cameron Bailey, Catherine Shoard, Eric Kohn, Kate Muir, Tim Robey.
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The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale


2005 / USA / 80m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Family Drama
Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Halley Feiffer, Anna Paquin, William Baldwin, David Benger, Molly Barton, Bo Berkman
"Told largely from the point of view of Walt Berkman (Eisenberg), a 16-year-old enduring the breakup of his parents' marriage in mid-1980's Park Slope, Brooklyn, The Squid and the Whale is both sharply comical and piercingly sad. Mr. Baumbach surveys the members of the flawed, collapsing Berkman family with sympathy but without mercy, noting their individual and collective failures and imperfections with relentless precision." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Mike Birbiglia, Xu Jinglei, Leonard Maltin, A.O. Scott, Peter Keough.
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The Fog of War

The Fog of War

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (alternative title)

2003 / USA / 107m / Col / Military & War, Documentary
Robert McNamara, Errol Morris
"In the deepest sense, The Fog of War is about the inadequacy of human intelligence. Morris's portrait of the former secretary of defense and prime architect of the Vietnam War, has been culled from over 20 hours of interviews. Elegantly annotated with archival footage and declassified White House tapes, The Fog of War allows this disarming 86-year-old raconteur to reveal what he was taught by the Cuban missile crisis (don't put your faith in rational behavior) and to detail his lesser-known experiences as contributor to the World War II firebombing of Japan and pioneer of the automobile seat belt." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sean Fine & Andrea Nix Fine, Anders Ostergaard, Andreas Dalsgaard, Carl Plantinga, Debra Zimmerman.
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The Holy Girl

The Holy Girl

La Niña santa (original title)

2004 / Argentina-Spain-Italy-Netherlands-Switzerland / 103m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Mercedes Moran, Carlos Belloso, Alejandro Urdapilleta, Maria Alche, Julieta Zylberberg, Mia Maestro, Marta Lubos, Arturo Goetz, Alejo Mango, Monica Villa
"Lucrecia Martel's elusive, feverish and altogether amazing second feature takes place at a provincial Argentine hotel during a conference of otolaryngologists. Amalia (Alché), a moody teenager whose divorced mother and sad-sack uncle both work at the hotel, is in the throes of adolescent self-discovery. In Amalia's mind and body, spiritual and sexual impulses seem to mingle like molecules forming a volatile compound… The Holy Girl may occasionally frustrate your desire for clarity and order, but in the end it will reward your patience, and you leave the theater in a state of quiet awe. It is a film that defies categorization, but I'm tempted to call it a miracle." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Andrew Haigh, Félix Sabroso, Alexander Horwath, Mar Diestro-Dópido.
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Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone


2010 / USA / 100m / Col / Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Family Drama
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee, Lauren Sweetser, Tate Taylor, Isaiah Stone, Ashlee Thompson
"Every once in a rare while a movie gets inside your head and heart, rubbing your emotions raw. The remarkable Winter's Bone is just such a movie… Director Debra Granik has adapted the 2006 novel by Daniel Woodrell into a brutally honest movie about secrets that fester among families in the Missouri backwoods… Granik handles this volatile, borderline horrific material with unblinking ferocity and feeling… Winter's Bone is unforgettable. It means to shake you, and does." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Verena Lueken, Samuel Wigley, Roger Ebert, Carrie Rickey.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


2002 / New Zealand-USA / 179m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif
"The director Peter Jackson's scrupulous devotion to the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy manifests itself in a gripping, intense fashion for the second of the film adaptations, The Two Towers. It may be the first sequel that does not bother to reprise the major plot elements of its predecessor immediately; the plan is to simply drop us right into the action… Never has a film so strongly been a product of a director's respect for its source. Mr. Jackson uses all his talents in the service of that reverence, creating a rare perfect mating of filmmaker and material." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Bryan Singer, Jonathan Lack, Roque Baños, Wuershan, Douglas Pratt.
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Ten

Ten

10 (alternative spelling)

2002 / France-Iran / 92m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Urban Drama
Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Roya Arabshahi, Katayoun Taleidzadeh, Mandana Sharbaf, Armene Moradi
"Breezily naturalistic yet disconcertingly self-reflexive, Abbas Kiarostami’s films deny their audiences the traditional comforts of movie-going… His newest movie is a dependably brainy provocation. Aggressively minimalist but far from stingy with its gifts, Ten is a disarmingly lifelike, yet formally rigorous, road movie. The premise is so simple, it’s high concept: two digital video cameras affixed to a car’s dashboard, one framing the driver, the other the passenger. The entire movie is comprised of conversations—10 in this case—between the two, as the car navigates the eerily familiar streets of downtown Tehran." - Elbert Ventura, PopMatters
Selected by Geoff Andrew, Kristy Matheson, Ruth Barton, Catherine Breillat, David Robson.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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35 Shots of Rum

35 Shots of Rum

35 rhums (original title)

2008 / France-Germany / 101m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Nicole Dogue, Gregoire Colin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Djedje Apali, Eriq Ebouaney, Ingrid Caven, Stephane Pocrain, Julieth Mars Toussaint
"Recent American films about families all too often pierce eardrums with unrelenting shrieks of dysfunction and misery. Amid the din, French filmmaker Claire Denis's sublime 35 Shots of Rum stands out all the more for its soothing quiet, conveying the easy, frequently nonverbal intimacy between a widowed father, Lionel (Descas), and his diligent university-student daughter, Joséphine (Diop). An homage to both Yasujiro Ozu's similarly themed Late Spring (1949) and her own mother's relationship with her grandfather, 35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation." - Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice
Selected by Ian Wild, Hynek Pallas, Karim Aïnouz, Mónica Delgado, Therese Grisham.
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Irreversible

Irréversible


2002 / France / 97m / Col / Crime Drama, Marriage Drama
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon, Stephane Drouot, Jean-Louis Costes, Michel Gondoin, Mourad Khima, Gaspar Noe
"It would be easy and convenient to dismiss Irreversible as blatant sensationalism. But Noé's bruising film is too artfully crafted to write off as exploitation. To see it is to absorb it, even against your will. Noé, the acclaimed French director of Carne and I Stand Alone, tells his story backward, as in Memento, but offers nothing as comforting as amnesia… Noé's considerable accomplishment is to examine the relationship between life and art, time and memory. Irreversible means to knock you for a loop. It does." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Stephen Thrower, Daniel Frampton, Billy Chainsaw, Rob Cohen, Rob Nilsson.
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My Winnipeg

My Winnipeg


2007 / Canada-USA / 80m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Social History
Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Amy Stewart, Louis Negin, Brendan Cade, Wesley Cade, Lou Profeta, Fred Dunsmore, Kate Yacula, Jacelyn Lobay
"Guy Maddin's homage to his home town of Winnipeg is an outstanding and often hilarious piece of film-making… Yes, it's a brief, black-and-white autobiographical essay on the film-maker's home town, an often snowbound burgh in distant Manitoba. But it's also a Guy Maddin film, which means it resembles no documentary you've seen... Probably the only film ever to mix Freud, Proust and a love of ice hockey, My Winnipeg is a joyous, mischievous, hilarious flight of fancy. It's also a strangely profound demonstration of the way film can reanimate faded memory and bring ghosts back to life." - Jonathan Romney, The Independent
Selected by Paula Arantzazu Ruiz, Laurie Anderson, Jonathan Romney, Jason Anderson, Jim Sinclair.
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American Splendor

American Splendor


2003 / USA / 101m / Col / Comedy Drama, Biopic
Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, James Urbaniak, Chris Ambrose, Joey Krajcar, Josh Hutcherson, Harvey Pekar, Judah Friedlander, Joyce Brabner, Toby Radloff
"American Splendor breaks all the rules. It's part fictionalized biopic, part full-fledged biography. It has excellent actors playing the main characters, and it has segments with the real-life characters themselves. It even hops into animation at times, which is appropriate since the hero is Harvey Pekar, known - well, not to millions, but to comic-book cultists everywhere - as the writer of underground comics illustrated by such legendary pop artists as R. Crumb… Filmed and acted to near perfection, it's one of the year's most innovative and exciting pictures." - David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Leonard Maltin, Ty Burr, Roger Ebert, David Sterritt, Owen Gleiberman.
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Tabu

Tabu


2012 / Portugal-Germany-Brazil-France / 118m / BW / Avant-garde/Experimental, Romantic Drama
Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Henrique Espírito Santo, Carloto Cotta, Isabel Muñoz Cardoso, Ivo Müller, Manuel Mesquita, Paulo Amorim, Hortêncílio Aquina
"The Portuguese director Miguel Gomes’s third feature, Tabu, is one of the most original and inventive—as well as trenchantly political and painfully romantic—movies of recent years. It’s a film in a rare genre: its plot is so adroitly and sensitively imagined and realized that a mere telling of the things that take place would suffice to reveal the depth of the director’s imaginative discernment—his ample and nuanced vision of the extraordinary elements and implications of ordinary lives. But it’s also realized with a casually audacious sense of cinematic form even as it ignores conventional wisdom regarding cinematic politics." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Selected by Lorena Cancela, Roger Koza, David Jenkins, Guy Lodge, José Luis Guerín.
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La Cienaga

La Ciénaga

The Swamp (English title)

2001 / Argentina-USA-Japan-France-Switzerland-Spain-Brazil / 99m / Col / Drama
Mercedes Moran, Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian, Leonora Balcarce, Sylvia Bayle, Sofia Bertolotto, Juan Cruz Bordeu, Noelia Bravo Herrera, Maria Micol Ellero, Andrea Lopez
"Character is destiny, it has been said. As true as that may be, Martel's remarkable debut film, La Ciénaga, shows how geography and climate also determine human fate. For whether or not we recognize it, we all live in nature. And in La Ciénaga nature looms over the characters like a malevolent giant exhaling fetid vapors… As La Ciénaga perspires from the screen, it creates a vision of social malaise that feels paradoxically familiar and new. Anyone who has wilted during the dog days of summer will recognize its mood and identify with the characters' pervasive sense of exasperation. But La Ciénaga is the first film I've seen that makes this mood its subject." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Pablo Stoll, Paula Félix-Didier, Monika Wagenberg, Pawel Pawlikowski, Esin Kucuktepepinar.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Moonlight

Moonlight


2016 / USA / 111m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Urban Drama
Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex R. Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner, Andre Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Patrick Decile
"To describe Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’s second feature, as a movie about growing up poor, black and gay would be accurate enough. It would also not be wrong to call it a movie about drug abuse, mass incarceration and school violence. But those classifications are also inadequate, so much as to be downright misleading. It would be truer to the mood and spirit of this breathtaking film to say that it’s about teaching a child to swim, about cooking a meal for an old friend, about the feeling of sand on skin… Moonlight is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Amy Taubin, John Powers, Lizzie Francke, Manohla Dargis, Richard Brody.
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Head-On

Head-On

Gegen die Wand (original title)

2004 / Germany-Turkey / 121m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Birol Unel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Meltem Cumbul, Stefan Gebelhoff, Francesco Fiannaca, Mona Mur, Ralph Misske, Philipp Baltus, Hermann Lause
"At times, Head-On is so unremittingly excitable, so pumped with catastrophe that I felt like sending the entire cast to their rooms for a time-out. But in its breathlessly claustrophobic way the movie is vital and passionate, and lit with a lyric beauty that washes over love scenes and violent acts alike. Framed by songs of doomed love from a band of traditional Turk musicians playing at the edge of the Bosporus, with the lovely minarets of Istanbul visible in the distance, the movie achieves a Romeo-and-Juliet romanticism that's hard to resist." - Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
Selected by Drake Doremus, Nana Asfour, Mania Akbari, Anurag Kashyap, Guillermo Arriaga.
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The Man Without a Past

The Man Without a Past

Mies vailla menneisyyttä (original title)

2002 / Finland-Germany-France / 97m / Col / Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners
Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Juhani Niemela, Annikki Tahti, Kaija Pakarinen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Esko Nikkari, Outi Maenpaa, Pertti Sveholm, Anneli Sauli
"The impish Aki Kaurismaki fills this proletarian fable with music and color. The hero, a jowly, sad-faced welder (Peltola), wakes up after a vicious mugging to find himself suffering from complete amnesia. But his state of dislocation turns out also to be a state of grace… The movie, with its easy, graceful humor and its plainspoken sense of decency, recalls the great populist films of the 1930's and early 40's: there are traces of Charlie Chaplin, Preston Sturges and Frank Capra in Mr. Kaurismaki's democractic aesthetic, and like them he has made a simple, poignant comedy whose intended audience is nothing less than the human race." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Mania Akbari, Isabel Coixet, Philip Yung, Jan Schulz-Ojala, Ricardo Bedoya.
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The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel


2014 / USA-Germany / 100m / Col-BW / Comedy, Farce
Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray
"The Grand Budapest Hotel is the filmic equivalent of one of the elaborate, multi-layered cream cakes that its young female lead, pastry chef Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), spends so long confecting. It is gorgeous to look at, full of candy colours, and extravagant camera movements. Its eye-popping visuals are complemented by Alexandre Desplat’s wonderfully jazzy score and by the lively and eccentric star cameos dotted throughout the movie… Anderson has a knack of turning out live-action dramas that are as stylised as cartoons. Here, though, he makes us care deeply about his characters. Anderson’s style may be high kitsch but the story he is telling is dark and elegiac." - Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
Selected by Roger Koza, Matt Zoller Seitz, Stephen Teo, Peter Bradshaw, Richard Brody.
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Moolaade

Moolaadé


2004 / Senegal-Burkina Faso-Morocco-Tunisia-Cameroon-Switzerland-Germany / 120m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Fatoumata Coulibaly, Maimouna Helene Diarra, Salimata Traore, Dominique Zeida, Mah Compaore, Aminata Dao, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Ousmane Konate, Bakaramoko Sanogo, Modibo Sangare
"Moolaadé, which unfolds in rural West Africa, is a brilliantly effective reworking of old-school agitprop, complete with bravura group theatrics… Presented as a parable, Moolaadé is a work of unpretentious simplicity and formal eloquence. For Sembene, who considers it the most African of his films, Moolaadé follows Faat Kiné (2000) as the second movie in a trilogy on contemporary women… Moolaadé may be didactic, but it never sacrifices play on the altar of preachiness. Drawing on the village's expressive gregariousness, Sembene makes his points through a "naturally" Brechtian combination of masks, musical numbers, and socially constructed characters." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sheila Johnston, Wanuri Kahiu, Kevin B. Lee, Luke Robinson, Roger Koza.
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Volver

Volver


2006 / Spain / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Tragi-comedy
Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Antonio de La Torre, Carlos Blanco, Maria Isabel Diaz, Neus Sanz, Blanca Portillo
"Drawing on influences ranging from Latin American telenovelas to classic Hollywood weepies and on an iconography of female endurance that includes Anna Magnani and Joan Crawford, Pedro Almodóvar has made yet another picture that moves beyond camp into a realm of wise, luxuriant humanism... To relate the details of the narrative — death, cancer, betrayal, parental abandonment, more death — would create an impression of dreariness and woe. But nothing could be further from the spirit of Volver, which is buoyant without being flip, and consoling without ever becoming maudlin." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Charles Barr, Li Shaohong, Ahmed Atef, Henriette Gunkel, Luke Robinson.
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Kill Bill Vol. 1

Kill Bill Vol. 1


2003 / USA / 111m / Col-BW / Action Thriller, Martial Arts
Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Parks
"Brutally bloody and thrillingly callous from first to last, Kill Bill covers its action in a kind of delirium-glaze. Its storyline rolls out in a simulacrum universe, a place which looks and sounds like planet Earth in the early 21st century, but isn't. It's a martial- arts movie universe where the normal laws of economics, police work, physiology and gravity do not apply: a world composed of a brilliantly allusive tissue of spaghetti western and Asian martial-arts genres, on which the director's own, instantly identifiable presence is mounted as a superstructure… Kill Bill just leaves you feeling excited: pointlessly, wildly excited. How many films can do that?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Emilio Bustamante, Chiara Santilli, Gerard Alonso Cassadó, Xavier Pérez, Tom Tykwer.
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The Intruder

The Intruder

L'Intrus (original title)

2004 / France-South Korea / 130m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin, Yekaterina Golubeva, Bambou, Florence Loiret, Lolita Chammah, Alex Descas, Dong-ho Kim, Se-tak Chang, Hong-suk Park
"It's clear enough that The Intruder is a dying man's long goodbye; whether it's a final accounting of a guilty conscience, a premonition of the hereafter, or a little of both is harder to say. There's a fair chance at least half the movie takes place in the protagonist's head. But Denis declines to distinguish between planes of reality: Fluidly merging an interior and an exterior journey, the film establishes a dreamy parity between memory and anticipation, fact and hallucination... This mysterious object may be Denis's most gorgeous film, but more than that, it's a fearless filmmaker's boldest experiment yet, a direct line from her unconscious to yours." - Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
Selected by Tim Wong, Michael Omasta, Daniel Frampton, Dana Linssen, Dominik Graf.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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La Commune (Paris, 1871)

La Commune (Paris, 1871)


2000 / France / 345m / BW / History, Politics & Government
Elaine Annie Adalto, Pierre Barbieux, Bernard Bombeau, Maylis Bouffartigue, Genevieve Capy, Anne Carlier, Veronique Couzon, Piotr Daskiewicz, Nicole Defer, Caroline Esnard-Benoit
"Dynamic historical reconstruction in the form of an experimental documentary, Watkins's six-hour feature was made in DV for (and largely buried by) French TV; it's as much immersion as narrative—complicated yet lucid and contagiously exciting… La Commune is in good measure an action film that builds inexorably to a powerful climax. This syncretic work of left-wing modernism—suggesting not only Brecht and Vertov but Soviet mass spectacle and didactic Godard—is at once immediate and self-reflexive. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Emilio Bustamante, John Gianvito, Chow Sze-chung, David Ehrenstein, David Collins.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


2007 / USA-Canada-UK / 160m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Brooklyn Proulx, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Paul Schneider, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Parks
"It happened with regularity in the '70s, but every once in a while, a major studio accidentally produces a work of art like The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford—a dark, iconoclastic Western that lacks clear heroes and villains, tucks its only shoot 'em up sequence in the opening reel, and closes on a note of profound ambiguity and regret. In look and tone, it recalls moody revisionist Westerns like McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Shooting, but with a special attentiveness to the natural world that's closer to Terrence Malick." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by David Michôd, Guy Maddin, Michael Atkinson, Todd McCarthy, Tom Charity.
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Borat

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan


2006 / USA-UK / 84m / Col / Comedy, Mockumentary
Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson, Bob Barr, Chester, Charlie
"Borat is the hero of this extraordinary mocu-reality adventure: a film so funny, so breathtakingly offensive, so suicidally discourteous, that strictly speaking it shouldn't be legal at all. He is the naive provincial TV reporter supposedly from Kazakhstan, though it is clear that this "Kazakhstan" is a joke cardboard country, a post-Soviet neverland picked at random... The fascination of Borat's comedy situationism, his theatre of cruelty, is that its hero is deeply unsympathetic. Ali G had a kind of goofy charm, but Borat is just so horrible, with a deplorable quality mitigated only by his ineffectuality." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Peter Debruge, Anupama Chopra, Catherine Shoard, Robbie Collin.
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The Pianist

The Pianist


2002 / France-Poland-Germany-UK / 148m / Col / Drama, War
Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Michael Zebrowski, Ed Stoppard, Maureen Lipman, Frank Finlay, Jessica Kate Meyer, Julia Rayner, Wanja Mues, Richard Ridings
"Polanski, filming in Poland for the first time in 40 years, has made one of the finest films yet about the catastrophe the Nazis visited on Poland and its Jewish population. Adrien Brody, in a fluid, understated and thoroughly unsentimental performance, plays Wladislaw Szpilman, a popular concert pianist who survived, against odds that can only be described as absurd… With relentless clarity, Mr. Polanski tracks the deterioration of his hero's situation and the day-in, day-out assault on his humanity. There are scenes of unwatchable brutality as well as of kindness and solidarity, but what is most remarkable is the sense of daily life in impossible conditions." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Chuck Bowen, Zhang Jiarui, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, Elise Nakhnikian, Rick Segreda.
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L'Enfant

L'Enfant

The Child (English title)

2005 / Belgium-France / 95m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Jeremie Renier, Deborah Francois, Jeremie Segard, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet, Anne Gerard, Bernard Marbaix, Jean-Claude Boniverd, Stephane Bissot, Mireille Bailly
"The Dardenne brothers' new film The Child, or L'Enfant, is an example of how cinema has the power to convince, to move and to compel with the fewest possible material resources. It is as gripping as any thriller, with the abrasive force of social-realist drama, and yet it is also unapologetically concerned with redemption - a theme that is just a style accessory in many movies, but is here absolutely authentic. It is a spiritual and even religious story, though religion of any sort is quite absent. In some scenes, it even had this unbeliever fearing for the lead character's immortal soul." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Charles Gant, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Wenke Wegner, Richard Brody, Robbie Collin.
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The Host

The Host

Gwoemul (original title)

2006 / South Korea-Japan / 119m / Col / Sci-Fi Horror, Monster Film
Kang-ho Song, Byeon Hie-bong, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae, Ah-sung Ko, Dal-su Oh, Jae-eung Lee, Dong-ho Lee, Je-moon Yoon, Pil-Sung Yim
"When was the last time you saw a really good mutant monster movie? The Host is the biggest commercial success in Korean cinema history and it's easy to see why. A cross between Godzilla and Jaws, it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once. It seems that the American military stationed in Seoul is responsible for dumping vast quantities of formaldehyde into the Han River. Years have passed, and the result is a gigantic serpentine horror that terrorizes the coastline… The direction by Bon Joon-ho has more than enough flair for this sort of thing." - Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Thierry Méranger, Marcelo Panozzo, Marcelo Alderete, Steven Boone, Quintín.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir

Vals Im Bashir (original title)

2008 / Israel-France-Germany-USA-Japan-Finland-Switzerland-Belgium-Australia / 90m / Col / Military & War, Animation
Ori Sivan, Ronny Dayag, Shmuel Frenkel, Professor Zahava Solomon, Ron Ben-Yishai, Dror Harazi, Boaz Rein-Buskila, Carmi Cna'an, Miki Leon, Yehezkel Lazarov
"Has Israel made a mass, semi-conscious decision to forget about the Sabra and Chatila massacres of the 1982 Lebanese war, in which Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militia into Palestinian refugee camps to slaughter civilians? This extraordinary animated documentary by Israeli film-maker Ari Folman - a kind of fictionalised docu-autobiography - suggests that Israelis have indeed forgotten, in a kind of huge, willed amnesia. But his movie makes an acid-trip down memory lane, and Folman might have created his generation's very own Apocalypse Now." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Vassilis Economou, Alex Gibney, J. Hoberman, Anders Ostergaard, Carl Plantinga.
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Leviathan

Leviathan


2012 / France-UK-USA / 87m / Col / Natural Environments, Documentary
Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Stanley Townsend, Kate O'Flynn, Caroline Martin, Oliver Maltman, Sarah Niles, Samuel Roukin
"Documentary filmmaking is often derided for being stuffy; Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel won’t be accused of that. Their documentary about commercial fishing has mere scraps of incidental dialogue, a deafening boat engine on much of the soundtrack, only a handful of scenes that show human faces and, for the first 10 minutes (at least) of weaving nighttime digital camerawork, you frequently have no idea what the heck you are looking at… But the imagination here is arresting; ropes and nets look like undulating monsters, flocks of gulls are shot from dizzying upside-down angles.“ - Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post
Selected by Robert Greene, Eric Kohn, Tim Grierson, Kevin B. Lee, Maria Campaña Ramia.
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Code Unknown

Code Unknown

Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (original title)

2000 / France-Germany-Romania / 116m / Col / Urban Drama, Social Problem Film
Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi, Maimouna Helene Diarra, Ona Lu Yenke, Djibril Kouyate, Luminita Gheorghiu, Crenguta Hariton, Bob Nicolaescu
"Aptly subtitled Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys, the best feature to date by Austrian director Michael Haneke is a procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment… I couldn't always get what was happening, but I was never bored, and the questions raised reflect the mysteries of everyday life. The title refers to the pass codes used to enter houses in Paris—a metaphor for codes that might crack certain global and ethical issues." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Antonio Campos, Robin Wood, Laura Marks, Ruben Östlund, Clio Barnard.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3


2010 / USA / 103m / Col / Family-Oriented Adventure, Animation
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, John Morris
"Toy Story 3 is as sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer, and yet it is all about doodads stamped and molded out of plastic and polyester. Therein lies its genius, and its uncanny authenticity. A tale that captured the romance and pathos of the consumer economy, the sorrows and pleasures that dwell at the heart of our materialist way of life, could only be told from the standpoint of the commodities themselves, those accretions of synthetic substance and alienated labor we somehow endow with souls." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Terry Jones, Javier Porta Fouz, Fernando Trueba, Peter Bradshaw, Tim Robey.
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Avatar

Avatar


2009 / USA-UK / 161m / Col / Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Action
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, Joel Moore, C.C.H. Pounder, Stephen Lang
"The computerized creation that is Pandora overflows with beauty and terror (those banshees are a wonder) that dwarves the mundane stuff where the villains, military (Lang) and corporate (Ribisi), bluster with predictable results. The last third of the movie, a battle between the Na'vi and their human destroyers, is a groundbreaking blend of digital and live-action. OK, it's unnerving that a movie preaching peace hits its visual peak with scenes of mass destruction. But Avatar is no Hollywood wankfest. It extends the possibilities of what movies can do. Cameron's talent may just be as big as his dreams." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, Michael Mann, Roger Corman, Venkateswaran Narayanan, Scott MacDonald.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Ghost World

Ghost World


2001 / USA-UK-Germany / 111m / Col / Comedy Drama, Coming-of-Age
Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, Stacy Travis, Charles C. Stevenson Jr., Dave Sheridan, Teri Garr
"It’s one of the most difficult things that an artist might attempt to do, to represent what it’s like to be a teenager… Ghost World, directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb) and based on co-writer Daniel Clowes’ underground comic strip, gets it right. It’s smart, sensitive, and insightful about the lunacy that constitutes adolescence, and never forgets how real and how complicated kids’ feelings are. Add to this the fact that the film is mostly about two girl adolescents—Enid (the extraordinary Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Johansson)—and the men’s achievement seems even more remarkable." - Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
Selected by Daniel Cook Johnson, Sarah Nichols, David Jenkins, Catherine Bray, Michel Gondry.
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Man on Wire

Man on Wire


2008 / UK-USA / 94m / Col / Biography, Documentary
Philippe Petit, Jean-Francois Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, David 'Donald' Foreman, Alan Welner, Mark Lewis, N. Barry Greenhouse, Jim Moore, Guy Tozzoli
"This exhilarating film treats French aerialist Philippe Petit's Aug. 7, 1974, walk between the twin towers of New York's 110-story World Trade Center as if it were a daring bank robbery. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century. Made by director James Marsh with the human interest of a psychological drama and the "You Are There" factor of a classic doc as well as the pace of a thriller, Man on Wire underlines the fact that often the events most worth investigating are the ones we think we already know everything about." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Tim Lucas, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Raqs Media Collective, Anders Ostergaard, André Singer.
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Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

The Fast Runner (alternative title); Atanarjuat (alternative title)

2001 / Canada / 172m / Col / Adventure, Drama
Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk, Madeleine Ivalu, Pauloosie Quilitalik, Eugene Ipkarnak, Pakak Innuksuk, Neeve Irngaut, Abraham Ulayuruluk
"Zacharias Kunuk's first feature—as well as the first feature to be made in the Inuktitut language—is an epic account of an Inuit blood feud, shot on DV in northernmost Canada. Mysterious, bawdy, emotionally intense, and replete with virtuoso throat singing, this three-hour movie is engrossing from first image to last, so devoid of stereotype and cosmic in its vision it could suggest the rebirth of cinema. As the arctic light and landscape beggar description, so the performances go beyond acting, and the production itself seems little short of miraculous." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sophie Mayer, S.F. Said, Kevin Macdonald, Philip Dodd, Wenke Wegner.
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Carol

Carol


2015 / UK-USA / 118m / Col / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley, Nik Pajic, Carrie Brownstein
"Todd Haynes has turned Patricia Highsmith's novel of lesbian love in Fifties New York into an exceptionally beautiful film, with a career-best performance from Cate Blanchett. Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see. More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience. It’s hard to imagine a director handling this project more surely than Todd Haynes, a supreme chronicler of feminine emotional pain - from Safe through Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce - who reasserts his status here as one of the greats." - Tim Robey, The Telegraph
Selected by Tim Robey, Briony Hanson, Carmen Gray, Clare Stewart, David Jenkins.
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The World

The World

Shijie (original title)

2004 / China-Japan-France / 140m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Tao Zhao, Taisheng Chen, Jue Jing, Zhong-wei Jiang, Yi-qun Wang, Hong Wei Wang, Jing Dong Liang, Shuai Ji, Wan Xiang, Alla Shcherbakova
"The title of Jia Zhang-ke’s 2004 masterpiece, The World — a film that’s hilarious and upsetting, epic and dystopian — is an ironic pun and a metaphor. It’s also the name of the real theme park outside Beijing where most of the action is set and practically all its characters work… Flawed only by its abrupt and stylistically awkward ending, The World is a tragic, visionary work — a global newspaper that somehow catches our muddled drift in all its surreal splendor. Maybe its biggest achievement is that it actually lives up to its title." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jytte Jensen, Annett Busch, Daryl Chin, Roger Koza.
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Adaptation

Adaptation


2002 / USA / 114m / Col / Comedy Drama, Satire
Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Judy Greer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston, Jay Tavare
"Spike Jonze and the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman concoct an intricate, scrambled parallel universe populated by anxious, itchy people, some appearing really to exist. The hero is Mr. Kaufman himself (Cage), a screenwriter struggling to adapt The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean's nonfiction meditation on flowers, obsession and Darwinian theory. He is tormented by writer's block and by his twin brother, Donald (also Mr. Cage)… This is a remarkable, impossible movie — about itself but also about its own nonexistence — and one of the most formally audacious, intellectually charged American movies in quite some time." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Lee J. Chase IV, Lloyd Michaels, Michael Atkinson, Michael Brooke, Mark Duplass.
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The Departed

The Departed


2006 / USA-Hong Kong / 152m / Col / Crime, Police Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Corrigan
"The Hong Kong action movie Infernal Affairs has the sort of hook that would fill an arena in the rock world: Two police-academy graduates work as moles on opposite sides of the law… Shot through by his most propulsive storytelling since Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese's remake orchestrates such a perfect balance between these mirroring characters that the film achieves a kind of musical symmetry… The Departed has that Goodfellas pop, from the first-rate cast to the sharp black comedy to the startling incidents of violence. Scorsese is revisiting familiar territory, but the details are still fresh." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, Peter Travers, Andrew Sarris, Ian Christie, Molly Haskell.
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The Master

The Master


2012 / USA / 144m / Col / Period Film, Psychological Drama
Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Price Carson, Mike Howard, Sarah Shoshana David, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky, Rami Malek
"This is a superbly crafted film that's at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn't want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness. It's a film bristling with vivid moments and unbeatable acting… Its writer-director, of course, is the all-out visionary Paul Thomas Anderson, an all-in filmmaker whose previous work like Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood explored strong and compelling personal conflicts. But none are stronger than the one here between a man completely sure of himself and another who is completely not." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Roger Koza, Alexander Horwath, Glenn Kenny, Kent Jones, Tim Grierson.
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Capturing the Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans


2003 / USA / 107m / Col / Family & Personal Relationships, Documentary
Arnold Friedman, Elaine Friedman, David Friedman, Seth Friedman, Jesse Friedman, Howard Friedman, John McDermott, Frances Galasso, Joseph Onorato, Anthony Sgueglia
"So many of us have joked - and in our darkest moments, wondered - exactly what family films would reveal about us and those bound to us by blood… Andrew Jarecki has made exactly that self-absorption the heart of his engagingly evenhanded and intelligently assembled first feature. Essentially, that's what the film is about, the American middle-class obsession with documenting innocuous daily life with eight-millimeter cameras, and now videotape. Mr. Jarecki assembled film from a continuing familial tragedy and shrewdly wove it into a grim, watchable wormhole narrative about a family's decades-long tumble into shattering denial, lies and abuse." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Martyn Pick, Khalo Matabane, Alexandra Zeevalkink, Al Brown, Amy Flanagan.
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Amores perros

Amores perros


2000 / Mexico / 153m / Col / Ensemble Film, Urban Drama
Emilio Echeverria, Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo, Alvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Marco Perez, Rodrigo Murray, Humberto Busto, Gerardo Campbell
"Amores Perros, was a foreign- film Oscar nominee, but it didn't stand a chance. Blood actually sizzles on a grill in it, and the stench of its Mexico City is stronger than that of the average art house's popcorn… Inarritu doesn't give you a Mexico City that's a vista-laden window on exotic locales. Written by Guillermo Arriaga, the film is a side-streety, rat's-eye view of a city undergoing economic upheaval… This is hard core, and it ain't pretty. His movie doesn't have to be falsely gorgeous, though 2 1/2 hours after it begins, it finds the human beauty that spills out of the knife wounds." - Wesley Morris, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Jean-Christophe Berjon, Klaus Lemke, Anupama Chopra.
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Under the Skin

Under the Skin


2013 / UK-USA-Switzerland / 108m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, D. Meade, Krystof Hadek, Jessica Mance
"Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer's first film since 2004's Birth, is special because it's hard to pin down. It doesn't move or feel like most science fiction movies—like most movies, period. It's a film out of its time. Its time, I think, is the 1970s, when directors like Alexander Jodorowsky and Nicolas Roeg made viscerally intense features with subjective visuals and sound effects and music and dissociative editing… Is it perfect? Probably not. It might be too much of something, or too little of something else. Time will sort out the particulars. But I do know that the movie's sensibility is as distinctive as any I've seen. Under the Skin is hideously beautiful. Its life force is overwhelming." - Matt Zoller Seitz, Roger Ebert.com
Selected by Catherine Shoard, Ed Gonzalez, Kim Morgan, Matt Zoller Seitz, Robbie Collin.
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road


2015 / Australia-USA / 120m / Col / Action Thriller, Road Movie
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee
"Mad Max: Fury Road is a stunningly effective post-apocalyptic fable, a chilling and yet exhilarating daytime nightmare pitting blindly loyal and bloodthirsty half-humans against implausibly beautiful people clinging to their sense of morality while doing whatever they can to stay alive. In an action movie world dominated by cartoonishly over-the-top CGI effects and rapid-fire quick cuts, it’s exhilarating to see so many set pieces and battle sequences filmed in unbroken tracking shots, some breathtaking wide angle views and visceral, gritty close-ups." - Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Javier Porta Fouz, Robbie Collin, Tim Robey, A.O. Scott, Glenn Kenny.
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Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko


2001 / USA / 112m / Col / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Jake Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Mary McDonnell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Duval, Patrick Swayze, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross, Noah Wyle
"Writer-director Richard Kelly's debut feature, the Lynchian Donnie Darko, is a tale of adolescent angst ripe with enigmatic sci-fi underpinnings. Regardless of whether Kelly's titular protagonist (Gyllenhaal) is seemingly deranged or merely on the brink of saving humanity from itself, his timewarping fantasies become startling metaphors for confused teenage male development. This endlessly inventive film is the virtual antithesis of happy-go-lucky '80s teen flicks, hauntingly gauging the pulse of a nation gripped by sexual repression and political uncertainty." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by James King, Marc Evans, Peg Aloi, Jurgen Egger, Shohini Chaudhuri.
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Up

Up


2009 / USA / 96m / Col / Children's/Family, Animation
Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, Jerome Ranft, John Ratzenberger, David Kaye, Elie Docter, Jeremy Leary
"There are scenes in Up of such beauty, economy and poetic wisdom that they belong in any anthology of great movie moments… As was the case with WALL-E, Up shows that, for Pixar, progress is not just a technological matter. It is moving forward in artistry, cultivating realms of wordless splendor that evoke the best of the silent days… To watch Up with any attention is to be moved and astonished by the economy with which specific visuals are invested with emotion throughout: The armchairs where Carl and his wife once sat every night, the wife's childhood scrapbook and even the house itself - these all become powerful images." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Anna Smith, Gary Tarn, Taika Waititi, Jasper Sharp, Kevin B. Lee.
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Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds


2009 / USA-Germany / 153m / Col / War, Adventure
Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, Jacky Ido
"Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is a consummate Hollywood entertainment—rich in fantasy and blithely amoral. It's also quintessential Tarantino—even more drenched in film references than gore, with a proudly misspelled title (lifted from Italian genre-meister Enzo Castellari's 1978 Dirty Dozen knockoff) to underscore the movie's cinematic hyperliteracy… Inglourious Basterds may still be a tad long at two and a half hours and a little too pleased with itself, but it's tough to resist the enthusiastic performances and terrific dialogue—if you're not put off by the juvenile premise or cartoonish savagery." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Razika Mergenbaeva, Cyrus Frisch, Kenji Fujishima, Xu Jinglei, Owen Gleiberman.
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In Vanda's Room

In Vanda's Room

No Quarto da Vanda (original title)

2000 / Portugal-Germany-Switzerland-Italy / 170m / Col / Drama
Lena Duarte, Vanda Duarte, Zita Duarte, Pedro Lanban, Antonio Moreno, Paulo Nunes, Fernando Paixao
"Pedro Costa’s longest and most challenging film is also the one in which he most fully discovers his present method (shooting beautifully composed tableaux without camera movement in digital video, with scripted dialogue) and subject matter (immigrants from Cape Verde and junkies, all nonprofessional actors playing themselves, inhabiting hovels in a Lisbon slum that are audibly and visibly being razed)… Sandwiched between Costa’s Bones and Colossal Youth, which feature some of the same people and settings, as well as comparably exquisite lighting and employment of color, this is passionate and demanding chamber cinema of a very special kind." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Volker Pantenburg, Un-Seong Yoo, Rebecca Shatwell, Michelangelo Frammartino, Eulàlia Iglesias Huix.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (original title)

2011 / Turkey-Bosnia and Herzergovina / 150m / Col / Crime Drama, Psychological Drama
Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan, Firat Tanis, Ercan Kesal, Ugur Aslanoglu, Murat Kilic, Safak Karali, Emre Sen
"Few films are about simply waiting and talking, but this is one; a film in which, for most of the time, nothing appears to be happening – but, in fact, everything is. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's new film is long and difficult, and perhaps not for everyone, but I can only say it is a kind of masterpiece: audacious, uncompromising and possessed of a mysterious grandeur in its wintry pessimism... Ceylan displays pure, exhilarating mastery in this film: it is made with such confidence and flair... With his two early features, Distant (2002) and Climates (2006), Ceylan has showed himself a superb film-maker. This is his greatest so far." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Rasha Salti, Dan Fainaru, Pawel Pawlikowski, Nadav Lapid, Marc Munden.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The New World

The New World


2005 / USA / 135m / Col / Historical Film, Romantic Drama
Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Ben Mendelsohn, Raoul Trujillo, John Savage
"With most movies, a shorthand description or a reference to another film is enough to convey a sense of the experience. But Terrence Malick's The New World is not like any other movie. In its emotional effect and in the ways it makes its points, this motion picture is much more akin to poetry or music. Malick uses cinema in a way no one else uses it, in a way that no one else has ever used it. Through elliptical and seemingly oblique methods, he forges moments of staggering emotional power." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Chris Stults, Duane Hopkins, Keeto Lam, Paul Clark, Christophe Goffette.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Mystic River

Mystic River


2003 / USA-Australia / 137m / Col / Mystery, Urban Drama
Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Adam Nelson, Emmy Rossum, Cameron Bowen
"Clint Eastwood's film, scrupulously faithful to the letter and sprit of Dennis Lehane's novel, has the gritty efficiency of superior crime fiction and the somber weight of tragedy. Set in working-class Irish Catholic Boston, this film revisits the themes of violence, honor and guilt that have haunted many of Mr. Eastwood's movies; it is among the most humane of his films, but also the most rigorously pessimistic. Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn play Dave, Sean and Jimmy, boyhood friends who must revisit the traumas of their youth when Jimmy's daughter is murdered." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Rogelio Llanos, Fanny Lignon, Yoshihiro Nakamura, Angela Glaser, Ken Dancyger.
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A Prophet

A Prophet

Un Prophète (original title)

2009 / France-Italy / 155m / Col / Crime Drama, Prison Film
Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb, Jean-Philippe Ricci, Gilles Cohen, Antoine Basler, Pierre Leccia, Foued Nassah
"A Prophet is a prison film like The Godfather is a gangster film. Meaning this knockout punch of a thriller surpasses its trappings to speak in a universal language about the ways power corrupts the human condition. Newcomer Tahar Rahim is astounding as Malik, 19, an illiterate Arab who begins serving six years by bootlicking César (Arestrup), an imprisoned Corsican crime boss…. Director Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) scores a triumph of the highest order with the defiant poetry of his vision. A Prophet is a new crime classic." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Kenneth Turan, Pam Cook, Jean-Marc Vallée, Nick Kroll, Jose Luis Ridoutt.
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The Incredibles

The Incredibles


2004 / USA / 121m / Col-BW / Family-Oriented Adventure, Animation
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Wallace Shawn, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Brad Bird, Lou Romano, Elizabeth Pena
"The Incredibles is brought to us by former Simpsons director Brad Bird… It's an all-conqueringly funny and blastingly energised family comedy that made me feel like one of its tiny pixillated civilians that get flung through walls, plunged into indigo-blue oceans or catapulted into the sky like a vanishing dot… Plenty of ideas go into the mix. There's something of X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spy Kids and also the quirky retro-feel of TV shows like Get Smart and the 1960s Batman. But as ever with Pixar, influences are subsumed into something new, something supercharged with insolent originality and modernity." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Peet Gelderblom, Aryan Kaganof, Dane Benko, Lee J. Chase IV, Todd McCarthy.
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The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight


2008 / USA-UK / 152m / Col / Crime Drama, Comic-Book Superhero Film
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Ron Dean, Cillian Murphy
"What a brooding pleasure it is to return to Nolan's Gotham City—if "pleasure" is the right word for a movie that gazes so deeply and sometimes despairingly into the souls of restless men. In The Dark Knight, the continuation of Nolan's superb 2005 reboot of the Batman franchise, Batman Begins, fair Gotham is a modestly cleaner, better-lit place than it was when last we saw it, if still a far stretch from the shining city on a hill its winged protector believes it can be... So The Dark Knight will give your adrenal glands their desired workout, but it will occupy your mind, too, and even lead it down some dim alleyways where most Hollywood movies fear to tread." - Scott Foundas, The Village Voice
Selected by Matthew Cheng, Zhang Yibai, Tony Jaa, Dane Cook, Yuki Tanada.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher

La Pianiste (original title)

2001 / Austria-France-Germany / 130m / Col / Psychological Drama, Erotic Drama
Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel, Annie Girardot, Susanne Lothar, Udo Samel, Anna Sigalevitch, Cornelia Kongden, Thomas Weinhappel, Georg Friedrich, Philipp Heiss
"Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Magimel won best acting awards in Cannes… for their unblinking portrayal of the sadomasochistic relationship between an imperious, sexually repressed piano teacher at a Viennese conservatory and a handsome younger student who idolizes her. This powerful, deeply disturbing film is neither titillating soft-core porn nor a psychiatric case study, but a platform for the director, a serious moral theorist, to explore voyeurism (the audience's as well as the main character's). The movie also addresses sex and power, and the relationship between art and life." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by David Sorfa, Sean Durkin, Xavier Dolan, Mika Taanila, Hannah Fidell.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Holy Motors

Holy Motors


2012 / France-Germany / 116m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Fantasy
Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli, Leos Carax, Nastya Golubeva Carax, Reda Oumouzoune
"Films are always getting described as surreal, whether they are or not. But this year we saw a genuinely surrealist movie. Leos Carax's Holy Motors is unfettered by logic and common sense; it takes off in all directions – inspired by Cocteau, Franju, Lynch, Buñuel, Muybridge, Kafka, Lewis Carroll and many more… And what is the point of this film? Its point is to dunk us in a delicious bath of unreason, to create pleasure. And having achieved that, its purpose is to meditate – capriciously, playfully – on the role-play we all have to master on our limo-ride through life… And apart from everything else, Holy Motors somehow manages to be very funny. What a gem it is." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Mónica Delgado, Claudia Siefen, Roger Koza, Eric Kohn, Adrian Martin.
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Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo


2003 / USA / 100m / Col / Children's/Family, Animation
Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Geoffrey Rush, Andrew Stanton, Elizabeth Perkins
"Pixar Animation Studios' wonderful new aquatic fable tells the story of Marlin (Brooks), a nervous, fearful clown fish searching the big, wide ocean to find his rebellious son Nemo (Gould), who was scooped up by a fisherman. The movie's stunningly rich visualization of an undersea wonderland is matched by a sense of humor that is fresh, sure of itself, and devoid of the cutesy, saccharine condescension that drips through so many family comedies." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Omer M. Mozaffar, George Kuchar, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Kristian Lin.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Distant

Distant

Uzak (original title)

2002 / Turkey-Netherlands / 110m / Col / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Muzaffer Ozdemir, Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer, Nazan Kirilmis, Feridun Koc, Fatma Ceylan, Arif Asci, Nazli Aydin, Ahmet Bugay, Ebru Ceylan
"Distant, a moving character piece from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, clearly derives some of its sensibilities from the hallowed cinematic churches of Andrei Tarkovsky and Yasujiro Ozu (and there's a little Chekhov, too, in his approach)… Distant works subtly on the senses and the brain. A story that observes silent behavior as much as talk, that looks down streets and sees things we normally wouldn't notice, it's a movie of powerful accumulation. The compositions are masterful, especially the snow-covered scenes in Istanbul and, most memorably, the spectacle of an overturned ship in the wintry harbor." - Desson Thomson, The Washington Post
Selected by Andrew Haigh, David Stratton, Nick James, Hussain Currimbhoy, Matt Boyd.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Songs from the Second Floor

Songs from the Second Floor

Sånger från andra våningen (original title)

2000 / Sweden-France-Denmark-Norway-Germany / 98m / Col / Surrealist Film, Black Comedy
Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Hanna Eriksson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson, Torbjorn Fahlstrom, Sten Andersson, Rolando Nunez, Lucio Vucina, Peter Roth, Klas-Gosta Olsson
"This beguilingly entertaining absurdist comedy played the Cannes Film Festival, and scenes from the picture still float in my head. The writer-director Roy Andersson uses the wide screen to compose chillingly beautiful shots and locks the camera in place as the often humorous action unfolds. The movie eschews conventional narrative, choosing to build, in discrete episodes, on the horrifyingly hilarious revelation that Fate rolls into everyone… Songs From the Second Floor, an example of an unsung genre, is a heartbreakingly thoughtful minor classic, the work of a genuine and singular artist." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Zhao Liang, Mike Leigh, Lone Scherfig, Andrew Kotting, Ruben Östlund.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Blissfully Yours

Blissfully Yours

Sud sanaeha (original title)

2002 / Thailand-France / 125m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Drama
Kanokporn Tongaram, Min Oo, Jenjira Jansuda, Sa-gnad Chaiyapan, Kanitpat Premkij, Jaruwan Techasatiern
"In Blissfully Yours, a delicate, ethereal dream of a film from the young Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, one of the more original and promising new voices to hit the international cinema scene in recent years, two Thai women and a male Burmese companion voyage into the wild, away from civilization and its discontents. There, in a forest as thick with mystery as a painting by Henri Rousseau, Mr. Weerasethakul lets loose beauty with a vengeance… For the three travelers, the trip into the forest will be no simple day in the country; it is something more urgent and necessary." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Selected by Corneliu Porumboiu, Ulrich Köhler, Samuel Wigley, Jed Rapfogel, Goran Gocic.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


2001 / New Zealand-USA / 178m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom
"It's thrilling indeed to sit through a mega-budget blockbuster sword-and-sorcery picture that's the work of a genuine filmmaker—that has passion and urgency, that has characters who are (whatever their stature or alien protuberances) dramatically compelling, that is more than the sum of the scores (hundreds?) of millions that have been thrown at it. It's true that the first installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, is basically a lot of people running away from special effects. But what volcanic special effects! What otherworldly settings through which to run! What magnificent music to run to! What illustrious actors doing the running!" - David Edelstein, Slate
Selected by S.F. Said, Paddy Considine, Jeffrey Overstreet, Mark R. Leeper, Jonathan Lack.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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2046

2046


2004 / Hong Kong-China-France-Italy-Germany / 129m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Romantic Drama
Tony Leung, Gong Li, Takuya Kimura, Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Chen Chang, Wang Sum, Ping Lam Siu, Maggie Cheung
"In his nine-film career, Wong has perfected the romance noir genre, and these days, he has it all to himself… 2046 stakes out its own territory as a complex, visually rich, pull-out-all-the-stops rumination on memory, regret, relationships and the creative process. While it falls just shy of a masterpiece, Wong's idiosyncratic command of the medium, along with Christopher Doyle's cinematography, William Chang's set and costume design and a veritable Murderers Row of Chinese and Hong Kong actresses make this a rare, sumptuous movie treat. It already feels like a classic." - G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Gillies MacKinnon, Peter Körte, Joshua Clover, César Ballester, Ho Wen-long.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In

Låt den rätte komma in (original title)

2008 / Sweden-Norway / 114m / Col / Horror, Drama
Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm, Kark-Robert Lindgren, Anders T. Peedu
"Stick your neck out for this Swedish horror show. It's a winner, full of mirth and malice, plus a young romance you'll never see on the Disney Channel. Eli (Leandersson) shows up just in time for 12-year-old Oskar (Hedebrant), who lives with his divorced mom in dank Stockholm. The kids at school are always kicking Oskar's ass, which helps fuel revenge fantasies… The two young leads are dynamite. And director Tomas Alfredson knows how to pin you to your seat. See it now before Hollywood remakes the thing and ruins it." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Richard Curtis, Todd Ford, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Matthew Taylor.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


2003 / New Zealand-USA / 201m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan
"Long live the king! The Part 3 jinx that plagued The Matrix, The Godfather and the original Star Wars can't contaminate The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. New Zealand director, producer and co-writer Peter Jackson does author J.R.R. Tolkien proud by turning his tome into a film epic by which all future film epics will be judged. King pops your eyes, excites your senses and brings you in as close as a whisper for scenes of startling emotion. Many reviewers who resisted the two previous films have come aboard to hail King, as if the series has only now kicked in. Bull. All three films are equal and indispensable to the tale being told." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Jon Favreau, Luke Gorham, Jonathan Lack, Roque Baños, Wuershan.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge!


2001 / USA-Australia / 126m / Col / Musical, Romance
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker, Kylie Minogue
"If a feeling is too intense to put into words, then put it into song. That’s an artistic mandate that applied for millennia to all forms of drama (Greek tragedy, Italian opera, Hollywood movies), though later audiences found it laughably peculiar. Leave it to Baz Luhrmann, the unreconstructed Aussie romantic who infused Shakespeare with an urban urgency in Romeo + Juliet, to go both retro and now-tro in a musical that blends MGM and MTV. It’s a convulsive love story daubed in a giddily gaudy palette, with the never-prettier Nicole Kidman entrancing hunkily soulful Ewan McGregor in an orgasmic swirl of color, design and pop music." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Marwan Hamed, Ahmed Atef, Pam Cook, Morgan Freeman, Rich Cline.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Nostalgia for the Light

Nostalgia for the Light

Nostalgia de la luz (original title)

2010 / France-Germany-Chile-Spain-USA / 90m / Col / Social History, Documentary
Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Nunez, Luis Henriquez, Miguel (Architect), Victor Gonzalez, Vicky Saaveda, Violeta Berrios, George Preston, Valentina Rodriguez
"This magical, moving documentary is from Patricio Guzman, the Chilean filmmaker who has spent a lifetime exploring his country’s unsteady relationship with its past. While others bury their heads in the sand over Pinochet’s murderous regime during the 1970s and ’80s, or the slave labour on which Chile’s nineteenth-century prosperity was built, Guzman heads to the sands of the country’s Atacama Desert to confront with poetry and sensitivity – but also a journalist’s keen eye and rigour – themes of remembering and forgetting, exploring and ignoring... A truly eye-opening experience." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Michael Koller, Gareth Evans, Tata Amaral, Aurélio Michiles.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Headless Woman

The Headless Woman

La Mujer sin cabeza (original title)

2008 / Argentina-Spain-France-Italy / 87m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Maria Onetto, Claudia Cantero, Cesar Bordon, Daniel Genoud, Guillermo Arengo, Ines Efron, Alicia Muxo, Pia Uribelarrea, Maria Vaner, Andrea Verdon
"Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel arrived on the international film scene eight years ago with her unique style already fully formed… Now along comes her magnificently confounding The Headless Woman, and I officially surrender. Maybe she’s finally put it all together, maybe I’m just slow — either way, this is one stunning piece of work… As pure filmmaking, The Headless Woman is indisputably superb and non-stop evocative; there’s scarcely a shot that doesn’t throb with ambiguous menace or portent. Indeed, there’s a strong genetic resemblance to David Lynch’s Inland Empire, another tale of a wealthy middle-aged woman who tumbles down an unexplained rabbit hole." - Mike D'Angelo, IFC
Selected by Lizzie Francke, Violet Lucca, Simon Ward, Maria Delgado, Marc Munden.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Amelie

Amélie

Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (original title)

2001 / France-Germany / 122m / Col / Romance, Comedy
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze, Claire Maurier, Clotilde Mollet, Yolande Moreau, Flora Guiet
"Paris: city of light, city for lovers swept up by the air of romance. It’s the perfect setting for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s wonderful Amélie, a film with a golden, glowing heart. This massive hit at the French box office is the very dictionary definition of ‘feel-good’ — its irresistible charms will dispel the heaviest clouds hanging over the head of the gloomiest misanthrope… Jeunet has created one of the most joyous films of recent years. With its gallery of affectionately drawn grotesques and eccentrics, Amélie is filled with sunshine." - Alan Morrison, Empire
Selected by Hind Mezaina, Richard Woolley, Jean-Marc Vallée, Myrna Maakaron, Iain McCaig.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Hunger

Hunger


2008 / UK-Ireland / 96m / Col / Drama, Prison Film
Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Helena Bereen, Larry Cowan, Liam Cunningham, Dennis McCambridge, Liam McMahon, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Rory Mullen
"With Hunger, British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen has turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience. In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison in 1981, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners… Featuring an intense performance by Michael Fassbender, Hunger is an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Noam M. Elcott, Clio Barnard, Akin Omotoso, Zachary Wigon, Steven Boone.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York


2008 / USA / 124m / Col / Psychological Drama, Showbiz Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Sadie Goldstein, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis
"For his directorial debut, the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has outdone himself, for good or ill, with the strangest, saddest movie imaginable, a work suffused with almost evangelical zeal in the service of disillusion. It's a film of mad Beckettian grandeur about the terrible twin truths of existence: life is disappointing and death inescapable. And it supplies a third insight: art is part of life and so doomed to failure in the same way… At the end of it all, you will feel as if you have lived through some crazy tragedy… It is not for everyone, but is utterly extraordinary in its way. If Charlie Kaufman never does anything again, this will stand as his cracked monument." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Anne Billson, Joe Wright, Gus Van Sant, Ed Park, David Sorfa.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Oldboy

Oldboy

Oldeuboi (original title)

2003 / South Korea / 120m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Drama
Min-Sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Byeong-ok Kim, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Seung-Shin Lee, Jin-seo Yun, Tae-kyung Oh, Yeon-suk Ahn
"It’s easy to feel blasé about the steady stream of action-oriented movies from the Far East, but this latest head-spinner… is far, far too good to leave to the ‘Asia Extreme’ crowd… Choi Min-Sik is in the Pacino or De Niro class, running the gamut from terrifying rage to abject degradation. The implausibilities in the plot melt away because we’re living the experience with him, thanks also in part to the bravura expressiveness of Park’s direction. Hitchcock and Fincher are reference points, but this combines visceral punch, a tortured humanity and even an underlying Korean political resonance given the weight of the past. Quite an achievement then." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Cameron Crowe, Eli Roth, Youngmee Hwang, Lizelle Bisschoff, Simon Rumley.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Still Life

Still Life

Sanxia haoren (original title)

2006 / China-Hong Kong / 113m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Tao Zhao, Sanming Han, Hong Wei Wang, Zhou Lan, Yong Huang, Jianlin Peng, Zhubin Li
"Jia Zhangke's wonderful film tells two parallel stories, both about individuals coming to Fengjie in Sichuan Province in search of long-absent partners. The setting is as resonant as the characters: Fengjie is being demolished to prepare for its impending inundation by the Yangtze. Plenty of earlier Chinese movies have looked at the human and social cost of the Three Gorges Dam, but Jia's film is the first to rhyme the loss of a very ancient human settlement with the transience and fragility of human relationships in general." - Tony Rayns, Sight & Sound
Selected by Jean-Michel Frodon, Margaret Deriaz, Babak Jalali, Kenji Fujishima, Ackbar Abbas.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Son

The Son

Le Fils (original title)

2002 / Belgium-France / 103m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne, Isabella Soupart, Nassim Hassaini, Kevin Leroy, Felicien Pitsaer, Remy Renaud, Annette Closset, Fabian Marnette, Pierre Nisse
"The emotional terrain The Son stakes out has been plowed over many times before. The death of a child commonly provides warrant either for sentimental psychobabble or for righteous violence. With their uncompromising, almost unbearable rigor and their ruthless refusal of melodrama, the Dardenne brothers mount an implicit critique of the therapeutic nostrums and the vigilante fantasies to which we have become accustomed… Nothing about The Son is easy, and it has the balked, minimalist force (as well as the working-class setting) of one of Raymond Carver's better stories. To call it a masterpiece would be to insult its modesty." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Eva af Geijerstam, Daniel Frampton, Marc Munden, Celina Murga, Andrew Droz Palermo.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Children of Men

Children of Men


2006 / USA-UK / 109m / Col / Science Fiction, Action Thriller
Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston, Peter Mullan, Oana Pellea
"Children Of Men is set in 2027, but each strand of its dystopian vision comes tethered to 2006. It's all chillingly, disgustingly plausible, and the familiarity only amplifies its power to shock… Cuarón directs Children Of Men with remarkable long takes and indelible images, but it isn't the kind of craft that immediately calls attention to itself; Cuarón moves the story along with an intensity that makes it hard to pay attention to anything else. It's a film of astonishing immediacy, with all the urgency of a late-night phone call, but the human element drives it… It's a heartbreaking, bullet-strewn valentine to what keeps us human." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Marc Webb, Paul Tanter, Yudai Yamaguchi, Gael Garcia Bernal, Mohammed Rouda.
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Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream

2000 / USA / 100m / Col / Addiction Drama, Psychological Drama
Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser, Keith David, Sean Gullette, Dylan Baker, Hubert Selby Jr.
"Aronofsky's second film is a relentlessly grim wallow in the depths of human misery, a film that doesn't so much ponder the void as plunge into it. It's also a gripping, uncomfortably intense tour de force that tops even [Pi] (1998) in terms of ambition and stylistic overload. A visual stylist of the highest order, Aronofsky is a student of the more-is-more school of filmmaking… For him, style and substance are hopelessly intertwined, and the film's rhythmic, hypnotic repetition provides a fitting visual equivalent to the rapturous, ritualized repetition of the junkies it depicts. But as brutal and raw as Requiem for a Dream is, it retains a shattering sense of humanity throughout." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Patricia Rozema, Simon Rumley, Pavel Bednarik, David Ondaatje, Yiwen Chen.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Syndromes and a Century

Syndromes and a Century

Sang sattawat (original title)

2006 / Thailand-France-Austria-Netherlands / 105m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Arkanae Cherkam, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Sophon Pukanok, Manasanant Porndispong, Wanna Wattanajinda, Apirak Mittrpracha
"Syndromes and a Century is a poem on screen: a film of ideas and visual tropes that upends conventional narrative expectations, not out of a simple desire to disconcert but to break through the carapace of normality, to give us the knight's-move away from reality that the Russian formalists said was the prerogative of art. It's a movie to be compared with the work of Antonioni - or Sergei Parajanov… If you want a film as challenging and exhilarating as the most weird and wonderful exhibition at Tate Modern, if you are bored with all the usual boilerplate material coming out of Hollywood, or even if you're not, then this is a film for you. Try it." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Jonathan Romney, May Adadol Ingawanij, Diego Lerer, Sarah Turner, Aditya Assarat.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing


2012 / Denmark-Norway-UK-Finland / 115m / Col / Social History, Documentary
Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik, Yapto Soerjosoemarno, Safit Pardede, Jusuf Kalla, Adi Zulkadry, Soaduon Siregar, Suryono
"It's a documentary about the Indonesian death squads of the mid-1960s who tortured and killed communists. But it's also a film within a film, as director Joshua Oppenheimer urges the ageing gangsters to recreate their acts on increasingly elaborate scale (prosthetics, props, drag outfits, soundtrack, location shooting). They grin and mug just as they also take it very, very seriously... It's often said of documentaries that they deserve to have as wide an audience as possible. This doesn't deserve; it demands – not for what it says about present-day Indonesia or even about its former horrors. But because almost every frame is astonishing." - Catherine Shoard, The Guardian
Selected by Eric Kohn, Stephen Teo, Matt Zoller Seitz, Joseph Fahim, Fernanda Solórzano.
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Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Bu san (original title)

2003 / Taiwan / 82m / Col / Comedy Drama, Showbiz Drama
Kang-Sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Kiyonobu Mitamura, Tien Miao, Chun Shih, Chao-Jung Chen, Kuei-Mei Yang
"The poet and critic Parker Tyler once described the movie theater as the "psychoanalytic clinic of the average worker." Tsai Ming-liang's latest feature puts one such clinic under analysis. Goodbye Dragon Inn concerns the inner life of a poured-concrete cavern in the heart of Taipei… Because the theater is about to shut down, there's a superficial resemblance to the canned nostalgia of Cinema Paradiso. But Goodbye Dragon Inn is far less sentimental and considerably funnier than the old Miramax pocket liner. And because Tsai is the director, Goodbye Dragon Inn is also a movie of elegant understatement and considerable formal intelligence." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tsai Ming-liang, Bruce Jenkins, Lalitha Gopalan, Monte Hellman.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Pasted Graphic

Million Dollar Baby


2004 / USA / 137m / Col / Sports Drama, Melodrama
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brian F. O'Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome
"Clint Eastwood takes what appears to be a conventional boxing-melodrama plot about a crusty old trainer whose heart is melted by a spirited young fighter and turns it into a glowing, somber meditation on friendship, ambition and death. The picture's scale is small, and its pacing leisurely, which gives you a chance to savor three lovely performances: from Swank as the young boxer, Freeman as world-weary former contender and Eastwood as the trainer… Mr. Eastwood has achieved a level of mastery that leaves him with nothing to prove, and so, unafraid of sentiment and willing to risk cliché, he has made a graceful, lyrical, devastating masterpiece." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Luke Gibbons, Jeon Chanil, Rogelio Llanos, Jerome Bimbenet, Katja Nicodemus.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Far from Heaven

Far from Heaven

2002 / USA-France / 107m / Col / Melodrama, Marriage Drama
Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, James Rebhorn, Michael Gaston, Ryan Ward, Lindsay Andretta, Celia Weston
"Todd Haynes has both updated the now-classic Douglas Sirk melodramas of the 1950's and paid ardent, intelligent homage to their lush, subversive spirit. Julianne Moore plays Cathy Whitaker, a Hartford housewife whose leafy domestic idyll is shattered by her husband's homosexuality and her own illicit friendship with a black landscaper (Haysbert). The cast, which also includes Dennis Quaid as Cathy's unhappy husband and Patricia Clarkson as her poisonously compassionate best friend, is uniformly superb. The movie transcends irony or caricature, and reminds us how humane and how artful melodrama can be." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Briony Hanson, Alan Jones, Hans-Dieter Delkus, Kristian Lin, Tim Robey.